Dr Richard RyanRichard M. Ryan, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry and Education at the University of Rochester. He is a widely published researcher and theorist with over 250 articles, chapters, and books, and the co-developer (with Edward Deci) of Self-Determination Theory. Ryan has given addresses in over 70 universities worldwide and is a Fellow of several professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association, the Society for Self and Identity, and the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, and he is an Honorary Membership in the German Psychological Society. Ryan has received James McKeen Cattell and Leverhulme Fellowships, as well as numerous other research and teaching awards. Dr. Ryan is also a practicing therapist, and is currently the Director of Clinical Training at Rochester.

Dr Ryan will be presenting a Keynote on The Motivations Behind Meaning: A self-determination theory perspective, and a workshop on Applying Self-Determination Theory.

Click here for additional information on Dr. Ryan.

Keynote Abstract:

The Motivations Behind Meaning: A self-determination theory perspective

As people pursue what they believe to be most central and meaningful in life, both their motives and goals differ.  In this talk Dr. Ryan will apply self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) to the pursuit of meaning, focusing on both the why behind people’s strivings, and the what, or the contents, of their goals.  He will show that people can pursue life goals for either controlled or autonomous reasons, and thus that activities assumed to be meaningful, from personal achievements to helping others, can be introjected rather than authentic, with differing consequences. He will also review recent research on sexual identity, showing how even central life identities and attitudes can be based on the repression rather than integration. He will also distinguish between intrinsic versus extrinsic life goals (Kasser & Ryan, 2000) and review research showing that whereas intrinsic goal pursuits add to life satisfaction and wellness, extrinsic goals do not. Finally he will discuss the role of some meaningless activities in human revitalization and wellness, and in doing so he will highlight the intrinsic value of being.


Workshop Abstract:

Applying Self-determination theory

Self-determination theory (SDT) represents a rich scientific framework, backed by much empirical evidence about optimizing motivation and enhancing people’s well-being. Yet although the principles of the theory are practical and clear (e.g., environments in which people experience greater autonomy, competence and relatedness are those where they flourish), how does one provide such an environment? In this workshop Dr. Ryan, an active clinical psychologist and consultant, will discuss practical methods of supporting autonomy, and facilitating need satisfaction that can apply across clients, employees, athletes, students and even one’s children. He will also address issues such as why we sometimes resist being supportive, or engage in undermining others. The workshop will include both interactive experiments and, hopefully, active discussion with the speaker.